Schools set to reopen today

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With power now restored to all four Switzerland County Schools, officials are making plans to reopen the schools today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday).

One of the big issues in Sunday’s storm was how schools would handle the state-mandated ISTEP and GQE tests.

Dr. Elizabeth Jones said that students in both elementary schools and in the middle school will begin ISTEP testing today when they return; while high school students will have two regular school days to finish out this week – and will then begin GQE testing on Monday.

GQE testing will run Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week, because the state mandates that those tests be given in a particular order, and the state does not want the testing interrupted by a weekend.

The rest of the state not affected by the wind storm had its GQE testing Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week. Those schools that were hit by the wind storm have been given the opportunity to give the tests at a different time.

There was also a chance that the schools could open with a delay to make sure the buses ran in daylight; but Wednesday Superintendent Jones said that both transportation director Ivan Green and county highway superintendent Edd Cook have assured her that the roads are passable without having to have a delay.

So the buses will run on their normal schedule.

Whether or not the schools will have to make up the three days missed to wind damage has also not yet been determined.

One option is for the school corporation to file an appeal with the state for a waiver of the days; and if Switzerland County is declared a disaster area by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, that would help with the waiver process.

If no waiver is granted, the school corporation could make up the days during the school year by not taking off on certain holidays and days that have been built into the schedule; or by extending the school year.